I rated Sheffield University’s re-usable face masks to see where my nine grand is really going

Spoiler: It was quite disappointing

From teaching quality and student experience to graduate prospects and nightlife, there are many things you should consider when picking which uni to go to.

Some people focus on league tables, others on the price of a pint. But the shitstorm that is 2020 has thrown us a major new factor, one which should be at the forefront of every student’s mind when rating a uni: How good are the free, re-usable face masks given out? And by free, we of course mean included in the very reasonable nine grand per year.

Looks: 3/10

Ok, I’m not being funny here, but I was very much expecting a bit of branded merch, as Bristol Uni has done. For those of us who want to flex without splashing the cash on a hoodie, a Uni of Sheff face mask would have been perfect. Instead, these boring and plain garments wouldn’t look out of place sitting in an Economics lecture, eating a meal deal made up of a plain ham sandwich and sparkling water.

Comfort: 8/10

Credit where it’s due, these masks are actually really comfy. The warm embrace resembles a strong hug, which is exactly what you need when you’re paying so much money for a couple of Zoom calls every week. The uni may be blowing hundreds of thousands on prestigious pianos and losing students’ coffee machines, but at least the comfort of their masks can’t be criticised.

General usefulness: 6/10

Whilst this mask might not look the coolest, I thought that it was only fair that I put it to the test and try it out for other uses. The curtains in my room are crap, so first of all I put these masks to the test as a blindfold. I found that they were surprisingly transparent, and one mask over the eyes just didn’t do the trick. Luckily, the uni must’ve thought of this in advance, because they’ve given us two masks each which can fulfil this very purpose – because two masks over your eyes result in an excellent blindfold.

However, don’t try and use them as a sponge to wash your dishes, no matter how much you’re trying to save money. It simply doesn’t work.

Overall: 6

A mediocre performance. The uni has really missed a trick by not branding these face masks, and despite their comfort, I have a nagging feeling that perhaps I’m not getting my money’s worth for the nine grand.

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